Etta Mae Lopez needed help. She wanted to quit smoking. She decided she needed to go someplace where she could not go buy cigarettes. And the place that came to mind was jail. Ms. Lopez says this is the reason she went to a jail, walked up to a Sacramento sheriff's deputy and slapped him in the face. The deputy took her inside the jail, where she slapped him again. After pleading no contest to a misdemeanor, she faces 63 smoke-free days.
Smoking has its risks, but in California higher prices for health insurance probably won't be among them.
The federal health law allows states to charge smokers up to 50 percent more for a health plan, but a bill moving forward in the California Legislature would prevent that from happening.
The Affordable Care Act is supposed to remove discrimination in the pricing of health insurance for things like gender and medical condition. Critics say a tobacco surcharge creates a new category of discrimination against smokers.